★★★Exceptional ★★Excellent ★Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Here are three recommended wines for Passover and three for Easter. The Passover wines had two firm criteria: They had to be labeled as kosher for Passover, and delicious. The Easter wines really only had the latter criteria; I chose them because they should pair well with traditional Easter dinners based on ham or lamb.
Ella Valley Vineyards “EverRed” 2007
Judean Hills, Israel, $26
This blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon could pass as a good cru Bordeaux. It tastes a bit fusty and reluctant at first, but give it an hour — I recommend decanting — and it reveals a lovely core of fruit such as black currant and plums, robed in wood to lend it structure and spice. A classy, delicious wine.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Potomac Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at the Wine Harvest in Potomac.
O’Dwyers Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Marlborough, New Zealand, $16
An Irish kosher wine from New Zealand? Go figure. No matter; this is tasty sauvignon blanc, with a good deal of the aggressive grassiness that New Zealand has come to be known for with this grape, but with good tropical fruit flavors underneath to give it heft and interest.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, MacArthur Beverages, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s, S&R Liquors. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Bottle Shop, the Wine Harvest and World Gourmet Wine & Beer in Potomac; Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia; DiWine Spirits, Dugans Discount Liquors, Vineyards Elite and Village Wines and Liquors in Pikesville; Lennox Beer & Wine in Silver Spring; Old Farm Liquors, Riverside Liquor and Viniferous in Frederick; Olney Beer & Fine Wine; Quarry Wine & Spirits in Baltimore; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington.
Cantine Gabriele Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008
★1 / 2
This is a delightful red from central Italy, slightly earthy, packing lots of dark-fruit flavors with good acidity to help make it food-friendly. This might be the ideal Seder wine: It will make your diners (and Elijah) happy without hijacking the conversation.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Potomac Wine & Spirits, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at several Montgomery County Liquor Stores, Bottle Shop and World Gourmet Wine & Beer in Potomac, Cork & Fork in Bethesda, Kosher Mart in Rockville, Miller’s Delicatessen in Pikesville, Old Farm Liquors and Riverside Liquor in Frederick, Quarry Wine & Spirits in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and the Italian Store in Arlington, D’Vine Wines in Winchester, Rick’s Wine & Gourmet and Unwined in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner.
Puriri Hills 2006 Reserve
Clevedon, New Zealand, $40
New Zealand is known for its lamb, but not so much for its red wines made from Bordeaux grape varieties. This delicious example is a blend of merlot, carmenere and cabernet franc. It features lush dark-fruit flavors accented by mint and spice, with a hint of earth. Decant at least an hour before drinking to allow the flavors to develop.
Nice Legs: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits; on the list at Corduroy and Vidalia. Available in Maryland at Cork & Fork in Bethesda; on the list at Grapeseed in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Ashburn Wine Shop; Crystal City Wine Shop, Grape+Bean in Rosemont, Le Tastevin Fine Wines and Unwined in Alexandria, Vienna Vintner, the Vineyard in McLean; on the list at Willow in Arlington.
Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett Riesling 2010
★★1 / 2
Mosel, Germany, $24
This lovely off-dry Riesling will pair nicely with just about anything, and especially an Easter ham.
J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits. Available in Maryland at Corridor Wine & Spirits in Laurel. Available in Virginia at Curious Grape in Arlington, Oakton Wine Shop, Unwined in Belleview, all local Total Wine & More locations.
Rabbit Ridge Sangiovese “Brunello Clone” 2010
★★1 / 2
Paso Robles, Calif., $20
California Sangiovese has not exactly been a success story, but this example offers the dried cherry and cocoa flavors characteristic of the grape along with a robust fruit-forward structure and ripeness that speak of the New World. “Brunello Clone” refers to the particular clone Sangiovese grosso that is grown near the town of Montalcino in southern Tuscany and forms the basis of the famed Brunello wines.
Constantine: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Broad Branch Market, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Rodman’s, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. Available in Maryland at Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Olney Beer & Fine Wine; and Woodmore Wine & Spirits in Lanham; on the list at Coal Fire in Gaithersburg.